July 10, 2009

Vacation + Exercise = ?

I just got home from the family vacay in the mountains. At a resort. With a spa and two pools. Maid service. And a fitness room.

Ah, the fitness room. I saw the inside of the fitness room for a total of three seconds; enough to scan the equipment and know it was all there for my benefit. And then I ignored it. Yes, I packed my running shoes and necessary clothing so I really had no excuses to not use the room, but I sure made up a ton. The most often used was "I need to spend time with my kids while on vacation and away from everything else" (I didn't have a computer!). So I improvised and still got my exercise on, despite my absence from the fully-equipped fitness room.

Hiking: We took the "local" gondola up the mountain and walked the trails. Since my three little tykes are 6 and under, vigorous hiking wasn't really an option for us. One way to burn calories on a nature hike is to increase your speed. Power walking is a great way to burn calories especially as you walk on an inclined trail. Contract your glutes and take long strides while walking for an added burn, but be sure to watch where you step so you're not falling over loose rocks or fallen tree limbs. (Side note: You get bonus points for carrying a toddler on your back. Or some rocks in a backpack. You know, whatever works.)

Swimming: There were two pools we had access to, and one of them was pretty long. My youngest is in diapers and he's most comfy in a floatable-baby-boat-device-thing. With the pool always crowded and only 3 1/2 feet deep, I found that I could push his float around the pool while kicking my legs, alternating from a normal scissor kick to butterfly kicks to side scissor kicks. I could really feel them working after 5 consecutive minutes of kicks, and baby boy loved the fact that he was moving and could watch other swimmers. As an added bonus I didn't have anyone throw dirty looks (or words) my way because we were able to avoid bumping into other swimmers.

Staying in: There are, on occasion, times when you become stuck in your room or in the hotel. Times like these make it nearly impossible to avoid the fitness room. However, there are other things to do, such as running the stairs in the stairwell. Sure, you may get funny looks from passerby's, but you'll be burning more calories. You can also stick to a full body routine in the comfort of your room, but avoid laying on the floors. Yuck. Or you could put a clean towel down.

And if all else fails, take a deep breath, and go. To the fitness room.